Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Great Beak

Some dogs are all bark, some birds are all beak.

Carnivorous flightless birds, with tremendously large and powerful beaks, that can be encountered in various Dragon Quest titles. Great Beaks, and their palette-swapped cousins, debuted in Enix's 1988 Dragon Quest III: And Thus Into Legend . . . Japanese Nintendo Family Computer (Famicom) roleplaying video game (RPG), which was subsequently translated and released in North America (on March 12, 1992) as Dragon Warrior III for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

Today, Square-Enix publishes Dragon Quest games with the franchise's proper title, but, years ago, Simulation Publications/TSR had a tabletop RPG product on the shelves, also named DragonQuest, so, Enix wasn't able to release their games using that combination of words in the North American market, due to the resulting trademark conflict, hence the usage of the slightly different title of Dragon Warrior (isn't corporate litigation fun?)

Despite its moniker, this creature really isn't all that great (although, like any monster worth its salt, it will do its best to convince you otherwise). Physically, it's the weakest of the three feathered fiends that share Dragon Quest III's bipedal bird sprite, and the Great Beak exhibits no special abilities whatsoever, nor does it know any magic spells. Which is not to say that they aren't dangerous to battle, particularly for less experienced adventurers, but, in the context of Dragon Quest III's entire bestiary, they're more pigeon than eagle.

Below is the official Great Beak illustration, drawn by Akira Toriyama (of Dragon Ball fame). While the programmers changed the colors of the creature in the game, I opted to paint mine to match Toriyama's, as I feel that the original artist's work is the definitive source material.

And here's another image of a Great Beak, and an assortment of other monsters, surrounding a party of adventurers, taken from the Japanese Famicom instruction manual:

As usual, because I really don't like making them, I started out with the legs. I simply rolled up long papier-mâché snakes, bent and cut them into the proper configurations, and then built those skeletons up with additional strips of newsprint and clumps of tissue paper. While the legs may look like they contain some, I didn't use any wire at all to construct this model!

To fabricate the upper and lower beak halves, I compacted a piece of aluminum foil into that shape (to use as a form), glued several layers of newsprint around that, and then pulled the resulting hollow paper sheath free of said aluminum support and cut it down to the proper shape/size. I then glued the upper and lower beak components onto the roughed-out head shape as shown.

That done, I moved on to developing the features, adding eyes, the feather head crest, and other details. Finally, I went over everything with my woodburner (to smooth/harden the papier-mâché and do a bit of surface detailing) and permanently attached the legs to the body. Here's the fully assembled Great Beak before I painted it:

For the most part, other than some asymmetry here-and-there, I'm happy with how the finished figure came out, but I think it would have looked better had I covered more of the head, especially the back, with the spiked feathers, rather than just limiting them to a "mohawk" crest. I was also contemplating flocking all of the white areas, but I was afraid I'd lose some of the body's shape/definition in the process (or make it too bulky-looking in appearance), so, I ultimately decided to leave things as-is.

These are digitally recolored mockups (done with the GIMP art program), made to match the NES sprites, to show what my Great Beak figurine might have looked like had I gone that route. In retrospect, I think I would have enjoyed the Avenger Beak color arrangement more than this one. However, given my incredibly indecisive nature, if I had done so, I'd probably be writing right now that I wish that I had made my Avenger Beak as a white Great Beak instead--yes, I'm impossible to please like that. And it's at times like this that I can also see the benefits of making a mold, as that would have allowed me to make multiple casts of the creature, so that I could have one of each possible "flavor". Who doesn't want an army of big-beaked, rainbow-hued, flightless birds?

Newsprint, tissue paper, white paper, white glue, ink, and acrylic paint.

2.8 cm (1.1") wide x 4.1 cm (1.6") long x 4.8 cm (1.9") high.

Two days; January 20th and 21st (2016).


  •   Dragon's Den Dragon Warrior III bestiary.

  •   Dragon Warrior III Nintendo Entertainment System game and Dragon Quest III Nintendo Famicom instruction manual.

  •   Hardcore Gaming 101 Dragon Quest (Series) article.

  •   Wikipedia Dragon Warrior III article.

  • « Return to my Square-Enix Video Game Fan Art Gallery Index Page

    This is a nonprofit web site.

    Any and all copyrighted imagery, terminology, etc., depicted on this page belongs to its respective holders/owners, namely Square-Enix.

    The repeating background graphic is the bird crest from the ending of Dragon Warrior III.

    The MIDI music playing is the battle theme from Dragon Warrior III.